A Dubai Metro train doing trial runs on the Green line track along Grand Hayat Hotel Image Credit: GN Archive

Dubai: Dubai Metro will see a massive expansion on both Red and Green Lines with work expected to begin as early as next year, Gulf News has learnt.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has finalised plans to extend the Red Line from Rashidiya to Mirdif, to go with its earlier plan to extend the Green Line from Al Jaddaf to Academic City.

Both extensions are expected to be operational before 2020.

“As per the approved rail masterplan, there are two projects that are required to be ready before 2020, the Green Line extension from Creek Station in Al Jaddaf to Academic City and the Red Line extension from Rashidiya Metro station to Mirdif,” said Abdullah Yousuf Al Ali, Acting CEO of the RTA’s Rail Agency, in an exclusive interview with Gulf News.

Although the areas both routes will cover have been decided, the exact routes and the number of stations will be planned next year, when work on the design of the projects will begin.

“The RTA is conducting more studies on the proposed extensions and the actual date to start work on the projects next year will be decided once the studies are complete. Irrespective of the start date, the projects will be in operation by 2020,” he added.

The extensions are being planned bearing in mind the growing demand and popularity of the metro system as well as the continuous expansion of residential and industrial clusters across the length and breadth of Dubai. The plan also keeps in mind the growing population of the emirate which is estimated to cross the three million mark by 2020.

Both extensions are expected to add a substantial distance to the rail network, with the Green Line extending by up to 24 kilometres and the Red Line by around 12 kilometres.

The Red Line extension will serve booming new communities such as Shurooq and Ghuroob in Mirdif along with the adjoining neighbourhoods Al Mizhar and Al Warqa.

However, it is the Green Line extension that is likely to offer mass transit connectivity to large residential and industrial clusters as it will pass through Ras Al Khor Industrial Area, the heavily populated International City as well as residential and educational clusters such as Silicon Oasis and Academic City, serving a huge number of students.

The RTA’s rail master plan also includes a rail network extension of up to 400 kilometres by 2030, when the population of the emirate is estimated to cross six million. It involves the proposed construction of at least four other lines.

The news of the expansion comes as Dubai Metro celebrates four years of its successful operations, with its popularity growing every day.

“Dubai Metro has seen around 20 per cent increase in ridership over the years with the current average daily ridership being 366,000. We have a total of 58 trains operating together on both the lines, which reflects a phenomenal growth in such a short period,” said Al Ali.

Encouraged by the great response, the RTA has also made the express service, which constitutes two trips starting at 5.30am and 5.40am with limited stops, on the Red Line a permanent feature.

“The Metro express service is now a permanent service after the success of the pilot phase. We made this decision after measuring passengers’ need and satisfaction. The demand for this service is rising,” said Al Ali.

Dubai Metro, which began operations on September 9, 2009, is the world’s largest driverless rail network extending up to 75 kilometres.